Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Todhunter.
Stephanie, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up in the 1970s Midwest, moving from small town to small town pretty much every year with my mom and younger brother. In one of the schools, I took an art class where we used charcoal and practiced shading. I distinctly remember being impressed with the “grown up” quality of the drawings I made in class. Twelve years ago, after the birth of my fourth child, I went back to school for landscape design. After taking a basic drafting class I fell in love with drawing again, dropped out of school and started painting full time. I read everything I can get my hands on about art history and contemporary art (I recently read and loved Nothing If Not Critical by Robert Hughes – so gossipy!). I follow current artists I admire on Instagram and I am always looking online for new artists, new mediums, new techniques. I also go to museums, open studios, and art galleries as often as I can. Plus, I have my studio mates to bother with questions, questions, questions…
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I started working on the latchkey kids in 2014. The backbone of the series is an ongoing succession of plaster encased vintage dolls, each re-colored and re-named. The plaster encased girls (reminiscent of Han Solo encased in carbonite) begin as vintage Dawn dolls from the 1970s. These dolls were only made for a brief amount of time and generally only remembered by the GenX generation. Dawn dolls are smaller than Barbies and, although they have exaggerated waspish waists and perky breasts, are “tweenish” in age. They were small, generic, easy to carry and easy to lose.
Once the dolls have been plastered and inked, they develop distinct and often unsettling features and personalities. I take a photographic portrait of each girl to capture and highlight these quirks. These portraits are used in larger pieces to tell stories about the lost girls. Common themes are isolation, stranger danger, missing children, parental neglect, and lord-of-the-flies-like adventure in small town suburbia. And it is interesting to contrast these themes with those found in contemporary parenting: constant stimulation of the internet, helicopter parenting, snowflake children, online bullying- all of which are creating a new form of isolation among kids.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think that it is challenging to discover and express your own individual voice in the ocean of social media we all live, eat and breathe everyday.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I currently work out of Jerome Street Studios, a small artist coop space located in West Medford, MA. The studios are open to the public during events, pop-up shops, West Medford Open Studios and by appointment. I have a website with current and past art and two online stores: The Orphanage and The Lost Girl Candy Company. I also have an Instagram account where you can see current works in progress. I recently had a solo show at the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery in Boston, and have work in several local galleries. For information about upcoming shows and recent publications or to request a studio visit, please visit my website.
- Address: Jerome Street Studios
128 Jerome Street
- Website: www.stephanietodhunter.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephanietodhunterart/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jerome-Street-Studios-555620537843399/
- Other: https://jeromestreetstudios.com/
Stephanie Todhunter (the image taken at the abigail ogilvy gallery is by Rick Todhunter)